The Google offices in Granary Sqaure, London, Thursday Nov. 1, 2018. Hundreds of Google engineers and other workers walked off the job Thursday morning to protest the internet company’s lenient treatment of executives accused of sexual misconduct. Employees were seen staging walkouts at offices in Tokyo, Singapore, London, and Dublin. (Stefan Rousseau/PA via AP)

INTERNATIONAL – Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai says the company’s controversial project to develop a search engine for the Chinese market was an “experiment.”

The search engine for China, nicknamed Project Dragonfly, was revealed earlier this year in news reports, spurring criticism from US politicians, human-rights activists and some employees at the Alphabet unit. Company workers said a search engine that facilitated censorship would be in conflict with Google’s values.

Pichai, who had previously said the project was in its early stages, seemed to have rolled it back further on Thursday when he characterized the search engine for China as an experiment. The Chief Executive’s comments contradicted reporting by The Intercept suggesting the project was in its mature stages.

In other news, Hundreds of Google employees and contractors in Asia staged brief midday walkouts on Thursday, with thousands more expected to follow at offices worldwide, amid complaints of sexism, racism and unchecked executive power in their workplace.